[Vm-dev] Workload on assorted people

Bruce O'Neel bruce.oneel at pckswarms.ch
Mon Apr 5 10:05:55 UTC 2021

It is my impression, and I could be wrong, that Eliot and other VM maintainers are getting burned out with the load of maintaining the open smalltalk VM development.   
This is a bad plan since we are critically dependent on the current maintainers of the VM.  No VM, no Squeak et al.  
So here is my small proposal to help out.  
There must be a set of people on this list who can build the VM regularly on assorted systems.  As a group we can cover the important systems.  I can do Linux x86, ArmV6, and ArmV8 in assorted flavors.  Others I sure can do Windows and Mac.  
Step one is then to have people build AND use the VM on the systems that they work on.  Let's call this the build community.   This will help us track bugs as quickly as possible.  Build failures can be reported as GIT issues.  In my mind this is better than some CI system because just building is only have of the problem.  And tests only find so many things.  
Now having 100 git issues per day does not help the current maintainers.  So...  
Step 2 is that there another set of people that can not only look at build git issues, but, repeat those builds and propose fixes.  Let's call those curated GIT issues.  That should be a smaller number.  And once we have a git issue with a proposed patch that can be tested by others in the build community to make sure that some patch I propose on Linux does not kill the carefully constructed windows build.  That way when we get to...  
Step 3 is that Eliot and other current VM maintainers have a small set of patches that at least are known to build and not break a VM to review.  This should be a much less frustrating piece of work.  
Finally if no one can be convinced to step up and build/test a particular combo then maybe that build can be just archived.  Git won't forget and if someone pops up a few years later and needs a particular build then we can restore it.  And this way we can have a small set of builds to run that might be less confusing to those outside of the community that might be interested in joining up but are put off by too much complexity.  
I think to go forward we have to match the workload with people's time and abilities or we are in trouble.  
I know *I* greatly appreciate the work that has been done.  And I would love to see it continue in a way that is rewarding and sustainable for those doing that work.  
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